Chapter 51 – Confessing the Truth
"AHHHHHH!!!" Iris abruptly screams when her body awakens.
"You're up?" Senna's soft voice enters her ears.
Iris relaxes a bit as she pieces together what happened. The terrible events of her test instantly come to mind sending a cold shiver down her spine. She relaxes her body realizing that she's still alive.
"Ah! What about Liliana?" Iris turns her head remembering Liliana's condition. However, she receives her answer even without Senna's response. The fully petrified statue of Liliana sits in the center of the room. Iris immediately tears up seeing Liliana's blank and fearful expression.
"You can keep trying to convince me to take you along or I can heal your sister. What will it be?" Senna apathetically asks interrupting her crying. She continues to read the book without raising her face.
"What do you mean?" Iris asks looking at Senna calmly seated on a chair with a book in hand.
"If you want to pursue me still, your sister will stay like that. If you give up, then I'll heal her." Senna calmly points at the petrified Liliana.
Iris stares at Senna surprised at her ambivalence. "Liliana's been so close to you. How can you be so calm about turning her into this?"
"Because she's the stake in your gamble. You chose to perform a dangerous wager and need a suitable punishment if you fail." Senna calmly explains.
".............." Iris jaw drops at Senna's blatant threat. She looks at Senna, but her expression is extremely stern without any sign of a joking mood. She turns to the petrified Liliana and sighs. No matter how much she wants to follow Senna, there's no way she can leave Liliana in such a state. "Please fix Liliana." She can only give up if the only other option is to destroy her family.
"...I see." Senna nods and snaps her fingers. The petrified statue disappears with a simple pop.
"........Eh?" Iris' eyes bulge seeing her sister disappear. Senna doesn't comment as she turns around moving to the locked door. As Senna opens the door, Liliana bursts into room crying.
"Big sister!!!" Liliana leaps onto the bed strongly hugging Iris. "Are you okay?! Do you still hurt anywhere?!" After satisfying herself with the hug, Liliana looks up and down Iris' body. The King and Queen, Iru, Irene, and Sebastian enter the room at that moment.
"...What's happening?" Iris looks around. Bewilderment covers her face as she struggles to cast her up with the situation.
"Uh..." Liliana averts her gaze unwilling to answer. The others also turn away.
Senna smiles mischievously. "I tricked you~ The hurt Liliana was a fake~"
"Ah..." Iris pales white for a brief moment before turning green. "Then...all… those monsters......"
"Yep. They were fake~" Senna replies in a cheerful tone.
"So...the entire thing...was fake?" Iris squeezes out her words as her face turns flush red.
"Not everything. The injuries were definitely real." Senna replies.
Iris temporarily abates as she looks at Senna with a silent 'How?' Senna points at herself with a calm smile. It takes a brief moment for Iris to piece together Senna's meaning. Iris jumps out of bed and grabs Senna's shoulders. "HOW COULD YOU DO THAT?!! I NEARLY DIED!!!" The others wince at Iris' loud shriek, but Senna takes it without flinching.
"Which was part of the test. I wanted to see if you would collapse under the verge of death's embrace." Senna calmly explains.
"AGHH!!" Iris lets out an unprincess-like grunt throwing her hands in the air. She turns away from Senna pouting.
“Big sis.” Liliana tries to see Iris’ face, but she just turns around.
“Hmph.” Iris pouts angrily.
“We’ll just have to wait until she calms down.” Senna laughs, not minding her anger at all.
Several minutes pass as they patiently wait for Iris to cool off. Iris reinitiates the conversation as she quietly asks a question on her mind. "...How did you get my parents to agree to hurt Liliana like that?"
"...Hmm? I didn't." Senna replies. Iris turns to look at her. "Liliana didn't want to trick you like that, so I had her wait in a different room. Irene was in charge of dragging your parents away when they lost control."
Iris looks at Liliana who mouths a silent 'Sorry.' Senna continues speaking. "I made a fake Liliana from magic and used that for the act. Iru is the probably the only one unaware of the situation until the end." Iris only now notices the heated glare from Iru. Long pink ears suddenly pop out from Iru's head resembling rabbit ears. Iris blinks repeatedly and rubs her eyes, but the ears on Iru’s head are no longer there when she looks again.
Iris focuses back on the conversation when Senna coughs to grab her attention. "...What happens now?"
"Well I give you a pass for your performance, so… you tell me." Senna replies with a bright smile.
"Eh? ...EHHH?!" Iris jumps to her feet. Everyone else is similarly surprised at Senna's declaration. "But I failed. And I gave up too."
"I didn't accept your forfeit. And I clearly told you at the beginning, I was testing your determination, which you clearly showed me. I beat you to a near death state, but you didn't break down despite the pain. For a novice, I'd say that's good enough." Senna explains.
Iris' body trembles hearing Senna's praise. Unable to suppress her excitement, she jumps into the air letting out a loud yell. "I DID ITTTT!!!" Iris jumps around hugging Senna and her family in sheer joy.
Senna watches her bounce around with a wry smile. She waits until Iris calms down before continuing her talk. "Ahem." Iris straightens herself up and looks at Senna. "Then I'll give one last warning. I meant every word when I said there's a high possibility of danger. I will do what I can to protect you, but even I have extremely dangerous situations that cause me to believe that I’m destined to die. If you really wish to come with me, then you're breaking away from your safe and steady life here for something far more dangerous."
"I..." Iris starts to answer, but Senna covers her mouth.
"Don't answer now and think about it more. There's no need to rush answering and I'm not going anywhere just yet." Senna sternly warns her. Iris pouts, but Senna reluctantly forces her to concede. "Then I will turn in for the night."
Senna excuses herself and leaves the room. She immediately collapses on the bed for her room and falls asleep.
Back in Iris’ room,
"Iris, how are you feeling?" Queen Helen asks.
"I'm fine. I feel as good as new." Iris smiling to reassure her mother. She moves her arms and legs to show that nothing is wrong."
"Iris, do you still plan on traveling with Senna?" King Victor asks sternly.
"...Yes. I still want to follow Senna." Iris hesitates thinking about what Senna said, but her answer remains the same.
"Okay. If your feelings remain the same, then do your best to make her fall for you." King Victor disregards his King status to whole heartedly support her as a father. He even performs a fist pump to encourage her making the others laugh at the embarrassing display.
"I don't agree!" Iru yells out stepping forward. "Senna hurt the Princess so viciously. There's no way we can let the Princess travel with her. She even told us how dangerous it would be. How can we let the Princess go with her?!"
"I'm worried too. She was quite vicious during the test. Will she really not do something similar in the future?" Queen Helen adds. An uneasy silence spreads as they ponder the idea.
"Your Majesty, I believe it will be fine." Irene speaks up. "Senna simply likes to string people along with her charade at times. She would never do something that couldn't be easily fixed. Plus she has helped us multiple times without asking for a more appropriate reward."
"You have a point. Let's put this matter to rest and forgive Senna today for her troublesome prank." King Victor nods agreeing with Irene.
"But..." Iru still protests unsatisfied with the situation.
"That's enough. I understand you're worried about Iris' well being, but you owe Senna a big favor yourself, do you not?" King Victor cuts Iru off scolding her.
"......Yes..." Iru reluctantly relents hearing her sister being brought into the argument.
King Victor nods. "Then get some rest Iris."
"Yes. Good night." Iris bows as everyone departs for the night. Iris looks at the pouting Iru to her side. "Are you still angry?"
"But she treated you in such a crass way." Iru pouts.
"Well we pushed her quite a bit. I think she responded normally." Iris laughs.
"How can you say that was normal?" Iru pouts.
"...Then..." Iris tilts her head. "If some unknown man wanted to forcefully take Eru as his wife..."
"I would never allow it!" Iru immediately cuts off Iris' example.
"See? Senna reacted in the same way. Normal, don’t you think?" Iris giggles at Iru's reaction.
"Uuu. Fine. You're right." Iru groans finally relenting her anger. The two talk for some time after.
Later that evening, the door to Senna's bedroom silently creaks open. A figure quietly enters the room and shuts the door behind them. The person creeps across the room slowly, eventually making it to the bedside. The figure scans the bed for any movement focusing on the raised lump on the bed. Satisfied with the lack of movement, the figure crawls into the bed. The sheets shift about as the figure clings onto the thing on the bed.
"Having fun?" Senna's voice breaks the silence as the darkened room lights up.
"KYAAA!!" The figure screams at the sudden question. When their eyes adjust to the lighting, Senna has a large mischievous smile as she looks down at Iris.
Iris looks up and sees Senna standing by the side of the bed. Her head whips to the side and finds a mass of pillows aligned to resemble a person sleeping. Iris' mouth dries up at the embarrassing situation. She forces herself to turn towards Senna despite being caught in the act of night crawling. "...When did you wake up?"
"When the door opened." Senna grin broadens seeing Iris' anxious expression.
"Isn't that right from the beginning?!" Iris cries out pulling the blanket over her head. Her face reemerges after her mortification transforms into indignation. "Do you really have that much fun teasing me? I know I shouldn't sneak into your room, but to even put a dummy in the bed!"
"Well I can't deny that teasing you is really fun." Senna snickers. "However, I wasn't specifically aiming to trap you. This was just for anyone that entered the room." Senna walks over to the closet revealing laid out bedding on the upper shelf. "See?"
"You were sleeping in the closet?!" Iris cries out.
"Mmm." Senna nods. "I was too tired to use more magic after that and I lack the assurance that a door lock is enough to protect me. ...In any sort of place, not just the castle." Senna quickly adds the last part after seeing Iris' worsening expression.
"But the castle is safe! You shouldn't need to do something like hide in the closet." Iris retorts.
"Says the princess that came for a night crawl." Senna grins.
"Ugh. That's..." Iris averts her gaze feeling her face heat up.
Senna sits down on the bed. "So to what do I owe the pleasure of Princess Iris' nocturnal visit? It didn’t look like something you needed to discuss, sooo~ an ascension from maidenhood?"
Iris' face drains white for a brief moment, but flips to a flushed crimson. "SENNA?!"
"Am I wrong?" Senna asks trembling as she tries to stifle her laugh. Iris covers her face without replying. Senna snickers for a bit enjoying Iris’ reaction. Senna's voice drops her mischievous tone and becomes serious. "And...what did you need?"
"......I just wanted to sleep in the same bed as you." Iris murmurs peeking out from under the blanket.
"......" Senna quietly stares at Iris without saying anything. After an awkward silence, Senna sternly asks a question. "Princess, do you feel a sense of comfort when you're close to me? More specifically when I'm touching you?"
"EH?! Um...That's..." Iris' entire body trembles at the pinpoint question.
"Answer honestly. This is important." Senna shuts down any excuses before Iris can respond.
"...Yes..." Iris reluctantly admits her secret desire.
"Tsk." Senna angrily clicks her tongue.
Iris shivers sensing Senna's anger. "I'm...s-sorry..."
"…Have you made a decision if you're following me?" Senna asks as if she hadn't heard the apology.
"I-I want to come."Iris barely squeezes out her response sensing an incredibly strong pressure beneath Senna's heated glare.
"You're absolutely sure?" Senna asks one last time. Iris forces herself to strongly nod. Senna sighs and places a knife in between the two of them. She extends her thumb showing it to Iris. With a flick of her hand, a short gust of wind slices open Senna’s thumb. Iris’ sight focuses on the blood dripping down from the cut. “If you are, then let’s seal things with a blood contract.”
Iris glances at the dagger and nods. She unsheathes it and lightly cuts her thumb. Before she can ask about the next step, her blood trickles down landing on the bed sheets. A blood red circle completely encompasses the two of them within. The circle spins around the two gradually increasing in speed with each passing second. Iris and Senna are both bathed in the same blood red light. Iris winces at a slight discomfort in her body as the contract’s magic takes effect.
Their blood mixes spreading through every pore of Iris’ body. As the magic spreads, she feels a large spike in the strength of the contract as her heart absorbs more of Senna's blood and magic. Iris silently waits for the contractual process to end as her body experiences a mix of discomfort and pleasure.
With her eyes closed, Iris doesn't notice the gleam in Senna's eyes. Senna quietly moves her arm up into the air and swings down. Her arm is coated in a dense layer of magic as she attempts to disrupt and sever the contract circle. However, the contract circle ends up being far more resilient than expected. Her arm rebounds against the red contract circle without shattering it. It distorts and bends as the oscillations spread throughout the circle, but does not even show signs of a crack.
In contrast, Iris reveals signs of a backlash from the interruption first. She coughs up a mouthful of blood, staining her clothes as the blood dribbles down. The blood contract extracts Iris’ newly spilt blood stabilizing the contract even further.
Senna clicks her tongue seeing the wrong person experience the backlash. Reluctantly, she quietly heals Iris as they wait for the contractual process to end. As the contract finishes, the magic circle dissipates returning the room to normal without a trace of blood.
Iris quietly opens her eyes to see an aggravated Senna. She immediately chooses to wait without saying another word.
"How do you feel?" Senna asks looking up and down Iris' body.
"...A bit stronger... and I feel a connetion to you now" Iris replies.
"No discomfort?" Senna continues without changing her expression.
Iris shakes her head in response. "Only one sharp feeling of pain like someone slammed my chest."
"...I see. Hand..." Senna calmly orders Iris. Iris obediently complies putting her hand on Senna's outstretched hand. Senna puts her other hand on top of Iris' hand. "Do you still feel a sense of attraction to me?"
Iris nods blushing. "Yes, of course."
"Tsk. Damn!" Senna clicks her tongue angrily turning her head to the side.
Iris trembles sensing the anger radiating from Senna's body. "I-I'm s-sorry."
Senna looks again at Iris trembling under her glare. She sighs forcing herself to calm down and pats Iris' head. "I'm not mad at you. I'm mad at me." She spits out another sigh letting her head hang down.
"...You're not mad at me?" Iris meekly asks.
"No." Senna immediately replies.
"Why are you mad then?" Iris cautiously crawls closer to Senna.
"...When I treated you, some of my blood mixed into your body. It looks like it formed an incomplete blood contract. A lot of the infatuation you feel is likely because your body wanted the complete contract performed. I wanted to complete the contract and then break it to return you back to normal, but it didn't work." Senna reluctantly explains.
Iris goes silent as she takes in the explanation. "...But why didn't it work?" Senna murmurs. She mentally filters through all the books she's read when she remembers Mika's words. "Ah! Right! It's a dual contract! You have to cancel it too! That should return you to normal!" Senna exclaims as she realizes the solution.
"..." Iris silently hangs her head. Her blonde hair gives off a green hue as it hangs down covering her face.
"What's wrong? Let's hurry and break the contract, so we can get you back to normal." Senna persists in probing.
"......................-o............" Iris weakly mutters.
"What was that?" Senna tilts her head.
"I said, NOO!!!" Iris pushes Senna pouncing on top of her. Senna could have resisted the push, but she didn't want to accidentally break Iris’ hands if she had resisted the push. Iris straddles on top of Senna's stomach. Tears drip down as her pent up frustration explodes out contorting her expression. "I'm absolutely not breaking the contract!!!"
Senna's eyes widen at her declaration. "Don't you understand? You..."
"No! You're the one that doesn't understand!!" Iris' tears dry as pure indignation fills her. "I like you, okay! I don't care if it started by accident. I like you right now! At This Moment! I thought really hard about my feelings and they haven't changed. I just like you and they're not because of some forced feelings from a contract! And I'm absolutely not breaking our connection now that we're bound together!"
"But..." Senna retorts unsure of what she should say.
"No buts! Argh!" Iris yells at her. She grips her head annoyed at how stubborn Senna can be. She decides to clearly display her feelings by taking the next step. Iris leans forward snatching Senna's lips. She shifts her lips awkwardly failing to make the kiss feel more intimate. After an awkward few seconds, Iris pulls back glaring at Senna. “Do you get it now?!”
Senna blankly touches her lips before focusing on Iris. “…You do realize that there are far better choices than me?”
“Agh! I don’t care!! I LIKE YOU, YOU IDIOT!!!” Iris can only groan seeing how dense and stubborn Senna can be. Senna silently stares at her making Iris feeling even more aggravated. “FINE!! I’ll go all the way then!” Iris slips out of the sleeves of her nightgown letting it slide down to her stomach. Senna’s eyes widen getting a clear view of Iris’ breasts as Iris continues to straddle her.
Chapter’s finally done! I’m tired~ Barely got this out in time. No chapter next week. I need a break. Chapter 50’s double length chapter really did a number on me.
A bit of happenings here. Not really anything too unexpected with the outcome since I previously polled for things to go in this direction. XD
The next chapter will be more of a short side chapter that will purely focus on that. It’s going to be fluff, so if you hate it, then you are free to skip it.
That’s all for now~